The St. Louis Cardinals have been a yo-yo in the MLB.com power rankings. One week, they were 11th. The next week, after going 8-2, they somehow dropped to 15th. Now, after another dominant stretch, they came in sixth, ranking just below the Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, San Diego Padres and Oakland A’s.
The Cardinals are listed as one of the best teams in baseball, and rightfully so. They are showing signs of being a dominant team after a slow start. Nolan Arenado, coming off his best series with the Cardinals, looks like a force in a potent lineup. The starting pitching, headlined by Jack Flaherty and Adam Wainwright, has been very good, with Carlos Martinez flashing signs of his old self as he works to become more consistent.
It is no surprise that the Cardinals, who are in first place in the National League Central, are the highest-rated team in the division. The Milwaukee Brewers come in 14th while the Cincinnati Reds (17th), Chicago Cubs (20th) and Pittsburgh Pirates (27th) trail.
This is how the Cardinals envisioned their season going. They saw Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt leading the offense while the starters pitched deep into games before handing it off to a bullpen that features Alex Reyes, who some in the organization feel has the talent to be a dominant closer and potentially frontline starting pitcher in the future should he stay healthy.
That’s been the formula for how the Cardinals got out of their early slump and there are reasons to believe this is merely the beginning. The offense should only get better. The starting pitching should become deeper and better once Miles Mikolas returns. And the bullpen will get Andrew Miller and Jordan Hicks back at some point as they recover from injuries.
It’s why the Cardinals, despite ranking as the third-best team in the National League, believe they have the potential to be one of, if not the best, teams in baseball. It’s what they envisioned when they acquired Arenado and slowly but surely appears to be turning into reality.